Football News

How the Premier League table would look without VAR errors 2023/24 season

By Tom Dutton

Published: 16:00, 4 September 2023 | Updated: 12:44, 9 October 2023

Gameweek 8 of the 2023/24 Premier League saw it’s own brand of controversy, although VAR was, largely, not in the public eye. 

The main focus this week centred on red cards or, perhaps, the lack of them.

The major talking point came midway through the first half of the clash between Arsenal and Man City, when Mateo Kovacic was given a yellow card for a nasty looking challenge on Declan Rice. Referee, Michael Oliver, adjudged the tackle to be worthy of a caution but no more.

The controversy continued, however, when just six minutes later Kovacic went into another challenge with reckless abandon. Oliver didn’t see the decision as worthy of a second yellow card and, with a lack of dangerous play, VAR was unable to intervene.

Ex-referee, Dermot Gallagher, had his say following the incident and he was adamant that Kovacic should’ve been given his marching orders.

“Once you have made a tackle like the first one, you have escaped, you are so much on the edge, you make the second tackle and the accumulation of both for me has to be a red card.”, he said.

“What I will say in Michael [Oliver’s] defence is he was clear in his mind in the decision he had made, he probably felt that not every second challenge is a booking, whether he has taken that into account.”

“I think together it has to be a red card. Once Michael says ‘no, I do not think it is worthy of a second yellow card, then the Var cannot get involved.”

Luckily, for Arsenal fans at least, the result still went in their favour, thanks to a late goal from Gabriel Martinelli, but there could’ve been a lot more furore if Kovacic had contributed to a Man City victory following the decision.

There were several other incidents that took place over the weekend and we’ve highlighted these below.

Premier League table without VAR errors

Position Team Played W L D GD Points
1 Arsenal 8 6 0 2 +10 20
2 Man City 8 6 2 0 +10 18
3 Liverpool 8 5 0 3 +10 18
4 Tottenham 8 5 0 3 +9 18
5 Aston Villa 8 5 2 1 +7 16
6 Brighton 8 5 2 1 +6 16
7 West Ham 8 4 2 2 +2 14
8 Newcastle 8 4 3 1 +11 13
9 Crystal Palace 8 3 2 3 1 12
10 Fulham 8 3 2 3 -2 12
11 Man United 8 3 4 1 -4 10
12 Chelsea 8 2 3 3 3 9
13 Brentford 8 2 3 3 -1 9
14 Wolves 8 2 3 3 -5 9
15 Nottingham Forest 8 2 5 1 -3 7
16 Everton 8 2 5 1 -3 7
17 Luton 8 1 5 1 -9 4
18 Bournemouth 8 0 5 3 -13 3
19 Burnley 8 1 6 0 -13 3
20 Sheffield United 8 0 7 1 -16 1
Source: Ref Watch, Sky Sports

Note: Our table has been compiled on the basis that penalties that should have been awarded would subsequently have been scored. Over the past seven seasons, 78% of Premier League penalties taken have been scored.

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How have VAR errors affected your club this season?

Club Decisions in favour/against 
Man City 2
Nottingham Forest 1
Tottenham 1
Bournemouth 1
Man United 1
Newcastle 1
Luton 0
Brighton -1
Wolves -1
Fulham -1
Brentford -1
Arsenal -1
West Ham -1
Liverpool -2

Other notable VAR controversies from Gameweek 8

West Ham 2-2 Newcastle — Bruno Guimaraes potential red card

Verdict: Incorrect decision but VAR unable to intervene

Newcastle’s midfielder is extremely lucky not to pick up a second yellow card for a challenge on James Ward-Prowse. Again, VAR is unable to intervene on a second yellow card but you’d certainly think that, if they could, Guimaraes would’ve been shown red.

Wolves 1-1 Aston Villa — Ollie Watkins penalty shout

Verdict: Correct decision

Ollie Watkins gets his shot off late in the game against Wolves, but receives as shove from Matt Doherty as he does so. Watkins looked off balance already and the contact wasn’t judged to be enough to put him down. It didn’t appear to be a clear and obvious error so it’s the right decision.

Luton 0-1 Tottenham — Yves Bissouma’s red card

Verdict: Correct decision

Bissouma bursts through the Luton midfield and just outside the box hits the ground. Referee, John Brooks, doesn’t hesitate at all, showing Bissouma a second yellow card for simulation and sending the Spurs midfielder off. The call was spot on; Bissouma wasn’t touched by any Luton player and was looking for the free kick.

Brighton 2-2 Liverpool — No red card shown for Pascal Groß

Verdict: Incorrect decision

Liverpool are awarded a penalty for a tug on Dominik Szoboszlai by Pascal Groß. The Brighton midfielder isn’t shown a caution, or red card for the incident though, something that baffled fans. The explanation was that Szoboszlai wasn’t heading directly towards goal and there was a covering defender. Replays show that, without the pull from Groß, Szoboszlai would’ve been able to roll the ball into the empty net, and Groß was denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.